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West Midlands businesswoman Karen Williams has reached the final of Lorraine Kelly’s Woman of the Year competition – with presenters dubbing her ‘truly inspirational’ and ‘amazing’.
Karen set up the Buddy Bag Foundation (www.buddybagfoundation.co.uk) in 2015.
The charity sends 12 essential items to children in dire need when their world has changed beyond recognition as they flee domestic violence. One of those items is a teddy bear called Buddy.
Karen, whose charity work is often based in Sutton Coldfield and Tamworth, has now overseen some 15,060 rucksacks packed with love by volunteers at ‘Buddy Bag brigade’ events and delivered to women’s refuges throughout the UK.
She is one of just three brilliantly inspirational finalists chosen by judges for the annual competition run by the breakfast TV favourite.
The judges were:
- Lorraine Kelly
- ITV news anchor Julie Etchingham
- Paralympian silver medallist and current Strictly contestant Lauren Steadman
- Victoria Milligan who survived a speedboat tragedy that sadly killed her husband and young daughter and in which she suffered life-changing injuries and had to have her leg amputated.
Karen was speechless when she was surprised by presenter Dr Hilary Jones while she was on holiday with her partner Sean in Dubrovnik.
The presenter told her she was doing ‘inspirational work’ while Lorraine Kelly called her an ‘amazing woman.’
Buddy Bag Foundation volunteer Linda Aitchison who nominated Karen said” There are some 48,000 children fleeing domestic violence in the UK each year.
“Often these children escape with just the clothes they are wearing as they go along with an opportunity to get out, or they are taken from school.
That’s where the Buddy Bag Foundation comes in. Thanks to Karen’s drive and determination, the charity has now packed more than 15,000 bags with love. But she knows she’s only just scratching the surface and she’s committed to doing much, much more. By 2020, the aim is to have delivered 20,200 Buddy Bags.